Compiled by Barbara Black
A meeting of University Senate, held May 28, 1999.
Academic planning: Provost Jack Lightstone reported that the Faculties are making progress in redesigning their curricula; in large part, this involves integrating information technology. Full-scale reports are expected in the fall. The School of Graduate Studies (SGS) will facilitate interdisciplinary programs initiated by the Faculties and streamline their approval processes for short graduate programs. Senate approved for recommendation to the Board an amendment concerning the powers of SGS Councils role.
CFI project: Charles Giguère (Engineering and Computer Science) reported that a major project submitted to the Canada Foundation for Innovation by his Faculty and Fine Arts has passed the first stage of approval, namely, approval by the Quebec government.
Academic schedule: Registrar Lynne Prendergast reminded Senate that because of religious and other holidays, graduations in spring 2000 will be a week earlier and the exam period will be extended a week. That means there will be two weeks less than usual to prepare for the end of term.
Task force on professor emeritus: This task force will look at the criteria and method of naming recipients. The Board member is Miriam Roland. Senate agreed to ask Professors Stanley Kubina and Patricia Thornton and Dean Chris Jackson, and, as the result of a motion passed by Senate, one other full-time faculty member to also sit on the Task Force.
Curriculum changes: Changes were passed in all the Faculties and the SGS. In addition, at the recommendation of the Academic Programs Committee, refinements to the guidelines governing the designation of courses in the calendar were adopted; these will clarify which courses have changed in credit value or have added a laboratory component.
General education: Senate reconsidered for recommendation four resolutions on this concept that had been presented in February. Dean Martin Singer reported that Arts and Science, which wants to develop a more substantive general education program, expects the final report of a committee headed by Education Professor William Knitter late in the fall. The Registrar reminded Senate that if the general education requirement is to be in place by September 2000, details must be available for the calendar by November 1999, which means presentation at Senate in October. After discussion, recommendations 1 and 4 were passed. (The first recommendation establishes the principle of a general education requirement, and the fourth allows postponement of its application in Engineering because of the complicating factor of professional accreditation boards. The second recommendation, yet to be passed, would set September 2000 as the date for implementation, and the third is for Faculties to develop annual lists of recommended courses.)
Loyola International College: Dean Martin Singer hailed his introduction of this new institution to Senate as a historic moment. The LIC would be a college in the humanities and social sciences aimed at international students who would be charged private-institution fees. (See CTR, April 29, page 1.) Dean of Commerce and Administration Mohsen Anvari asked if formal marketing studies had been done to determine the viability of the venture. Singer replied that they had not, but all indications are that it will succeed, and could pay for itself. The space requirements are well in line with the Universitys plans to revitalize the Loyola Campus. The timetable calls for enrolment in the CEGEP-level foundation year program as early as fall 2000. The establishment in principle of the LIC was unanimously accepted for recommendation to the Board.
Budget: Chief Financial Officer Larry English presented a projected budget for the current academic year, which shows a $4.486-million deficit. Moreover, the infusion of $15.4 million into Concordias accumulated deficit (the last Quebec budget allocated a total of $174 million for this purpose to all universities) will result in halving that debt and saving the University more than $1 million annually in interest charges. In addition, Concordias remaining debt compares favourably with other Quebec universities. Two senators questioned the fact that Fine Arts has run up a deficit of roughly $300,000 for two years running, apparently breaking the rule that deficits are to be carried over into the next years budget by each unit. English explained that the circumstances were unusual; in both years, Fine Arts had to absorb substantial increases in enrolment, incurring costs that will soon be recovered.
Vice-Rector Institutional Relations and Secretary-General Marcel Danis noted that the ongoing lawsuit by staff unions against the University for having taken a "pension holiday" could cost Concordia $1 million if it is not settled soon. June Chaikelson (Arts and Science) remarked that the unions should realize that this money could be seen as raises that cant be paid.
The preliminary operating budget for next year, 1999-2000, forecasts a deficit of about $2.7 million, but English said it is very preliminary and likely to change. In a financial forecast (plan déquilibre) to be submitted to the government, he has balanced Concordias budget by the year 2003, and estimated a rise in enrolment of 175 full-time equivalents annually for three years ending in enrolments for the year 2000. This is a conservative forecast; he showed in a graph how Concordias enrolment has risen, while in the rest of the Quebec network it has declined 2 per cent.
Vice-Rector Services Charles Emond presented the capital budget for 1999-2000, and explained that spending is rolled over from year to year. However, William Byers (Arts and Science) suggested that another, more transparent, way be developed of showing expenditures; Emond agreed. He added that while an extra $300,000 was found for the budget, only 41 per cent of the requests can be filled, and he suspects that some Faculties have understated their capital needs (i.e., for equipment and property). These vary considerably according to the discipline; currently about $100 is spent on Arts and Science students, $500 on Fine Arts students, $200 on Commerce and Administration students, and $360 on Engineering and Computer Science students.
Speaker: Dr. John OBrien was acclaimed for another term as Speaker of Senate, and tribute was paid to his fine leadership.